Woman dies in chhaupadi
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Wednesday, 18 January 2012
By: Pushpa Raj Joshi

Doti: A woman has died in Barla-6, Achham district while spending the night in chhaupadi, a shed located some distance from the house where menstruating women of the family have to sleep. Jhuma Devi Shahi, 40, was found dead in chhaupadi on Monday morning. “She was found dead with nasal bleeding when others went to see after she failed to wake up by nine in the morning,” said Ram Bahadur Shahi, a local.

Jhuma Devi´s husband Dan Bahadur said that she had taken the oxen to graze in the forest during the day and was quite well till she went to sleep after supper. Villagers think she may have been killed by evil spirits while others say she died of the cold. Locals cremated the mother of four on Monday afternoon without conducting an autopsy.
Menstruating women in far western Nepal are forced to live in chhaupadi for five days every month. Kidi Dhakal of Birpath-7 in the same district also died in chhaupadi last year. Police and the Women and Children´s Office, Achham, which has been working to end the chhaupadi system, have not been informed about Jhuma Devi´s death.

Women forced into chhaupadi

Dhanasara Nepali of Babiyachour, Surkhet district, has not forgotten the death of her sister from snakebite while in chhaupadi 10 years ago. But she herself has to sleep in chhaupadi every month, reports our correspondent Kalendra Sejuwal.
“The gods get angry if we enter the house during menstruation," said Dhanasara. She worries about her 17-year-old daughter. “I don´t worry about myself but I can´t sleep properly when my daughter is in chhaupadi, vulnerable to snakes and the freezing cold,” she said. Even educated women accept chhaupadi for fear of being stigmatized. “I have seen snakes several times while sleeping in chhaupadi but I fear society more,” said Devi Sara BC of Chhapre-5.

Source: Republica, January 18, 2012